Genetic Chaos

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Diversity of Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups in Ethnic Populations of the Volga–Ural Region

The mtDNA polymorphism was analyzed in eight ethnic groups (N= 979) of the Volga–Ural region. Most mtDNA variants belonged to haplogroups H, U, T, J, W, I, R, and N1 characteristic of West Eurasian populations. The most frequent were haplogroups H (12–42%) and U (18–44%). East Eurasian mtDNA types (A, B, Y, F, M, N9) were also observed. Genetic diversity was higher in Turkic than in Finno-Ugric populations. The frequency of mtDNA types characteristic of Siberian and Central Asian populations substantially increased in the ethnic groups living closer to the Urals, a boundary between Europe and Asia. Geographic distances, rather than linguistic barriers, were assumed to play the major role in distribution of mtDNA types in the Volga–Ural region. Thus, as concerns the maternal lineage, the Finno-Ugric populations of the region proved to be more similar to their Turkic neighbors rather than to linguistically related Balto-Finnish ethnic groups.

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